I’m on week six of my Australia adventure. And mm … I’ve eaten plenty.

australia emu kangaroo crocodile dinner
Taste of Australia - crocodile sausages, emu on skewers and kangaroo filet

However, something that dismays me at most restaurants is the tiny fee for nominal items. For example, if you buy sushi, guess what? It’s $0.10 to $0.30 for each pack of ginger, wasabi or soy sauce.

Like really? Here are others:

  • $0.50 for tomato sauce (ketchup) if you buy chips (fries) or a pie
  • $0.60 for tarter sauce or vinegar for fish and chips
  • $0.60 for an extra (dine-in) bowl, so that I could share some food with Julie

Why would anyone spend half a million dollars on a restaurant and sweat the small stuff?

I get it. It’s sort of the way of life over here. However, just because most restaurants are charging, it doesn’t mean that everyone else should follow.

Give More, Make More

Let me tell you a story. I know this lady (let’s call her Mary) who owned a fast food Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles. Mary knew that she couldn’t compete with Panda Express head on.

So, rather than sweating the small stuff, she over delivered them … that meant piling on the fried rice, chow mien and fortune cookies. Patrons walked out with their super packed boxes of food feeling like they really scored.

Sure, it costs Mary an extra $0.10 for all that precious rice, but she earned herself loyal customers and future ambassadors. Conversely, I kept feeling that restaurants in AU are out to get me for that extra $0.50.

This experience sort of reminded me of when I was in China in 2005. A hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant manager once surveyed how much I could afford by scanning me from head to toe before telling me the price of his noodles.

What to do next

So, go crazy and throw in a few dozen prints … be generous with things that are easily scalable. Comment how else can you give extra fortune cookies?

That’s why I love Starbucks for including tax (GST) in a pre-tax country … no nickel and diming there.

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Lawrence Chan

P.S. Starting in a week or two, I’ll probably resume my cooler marketing strategies. I’m still in complete Australia learning mode right now.

P.P.S. Kangaroo and emu taste like steak.

P.P.P.S. Want to see something epic? We decided to charter a plane to see the Great Barrier Reef from above before diving into it tomorrow. Ciao!

great barrier reef